After three years, Swedish progressive and melodic death metal band In Mourning return with ‘Garden of Storms’ the follow up to their well-received 2016 album ‘Afterglow’ which was the album that established the band as a contender of being one of the best modern Swedish melodic death metal bands. The band made waves with their 2008 debut ‘Shrouded Divine’ which showed that the band isn’t messing around as they came onto the scene with a powerful melodic death metal album that checked off all the right boxes that both old and new fans of the genre would enjoy. The progressive metal influence on that album wasn’t the strongest but it was enough to cement them as progressive death metal band to watch out for.
For me ‘Afterglow’ was not just a return to form but the album showcased a synthesized sound that combined what the band achieved with their debut and what they were experimenting with the albums in between. When the follow up was announced, I was excited to see where the band would go.
‘Garden of Storms’ is definitely a proper follow-up and improvement over as it builds on where In Mourning left off by focusing to tackle one specific combination of sound for any given moment by shifting which side of their influence they are leaning to varying degrees. On the melodic death metal side, “Black Storm” kicks off the album with a bang with guitars ringing, drums pummeling, and vocals roaring and it is relentless with its energy, aggression, and technicality that reminds me of Skyfire which cools down to a slower clean vocal section that fans love. Definitely a highlight and a great way to open the album, especially with a song that features a great solo. “Huntress Moon” is a song that brings the listener back to more of the band’s debut days. It’s rawer, it’s more aggressive, and it features no clean vocals. It’s a pure melodic death metal track and it is a banger. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have the track “Magenta Ritual” which has the most beautiful clean vocals. At its heart, the song is a progressive metal song featuring a great clean guitar intro, warm basslines, and well crafted vocal lines that will please many progressive metal fans. “Tribunal of Suns” expands more on the progressive side as the song adds back the death metal intensity to produce the best progressive death metal track of the album. It is progressive, it is aggressive, it is energetic, and it features an overarching melody that compliments the rhythmic intensity well. The band shows that it does these two styles well and within one album.
In Mourning also effectively combines the progressive and melodic side of their sound together at the same time as well. In the song “Yields of Sand”, the band goes for a progressive melodic death/doom sound by combining their progressive metal influence and melodic sensibility and frame it into a song structure that heavily reminds me of modern October Tide if they had clean vocals and tared a small page from Opeth. The album closer “The Lost Outpost” is an incredible, almost ten minute, the song that showcases the multiple different aspects In Mourning fans expect. The song features great usage of clean vocals, emotional melodies (especially the latter third when it gets extra doomy and the melodies float on top like a horn in the heavens), tastefully progressive riffs, and post-metal dynamics. The song sums up the album and what the band is about quite well and works perfectly as the album closer as it resolves into a satisfying and calming silence. With these two songs, the band not only proves that they are good at what they do but they have the potential to be even better than before as they not only effortlessly combine these two stylistic influences but also weave them back and forth in a fashion that gives rise to momentum and emotionality.
‘Garden of Storms’ is the successor to ‘Afterglow’ that In Mourning fans can not just be excited for but can also be extremely happy with. The band used what they have achieved in ‘Afterglow’ and continued to expand upon it with variety and vigor, achieving new heights and reaching new horizons in emotion and sound. In Mourning did all of that while keeping their foundational musical elements intact which shows they are consistently improving and maturing their craft. ‘Garden of Storms’ is In Mourning’s best album of this decade and will bring quite a bit of enjoyment for their fans.